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Android OS version history

Published in the Random EN group
Not only tablets, smartphones, watches and netbooks operate under the Android operating system. Often this OS is the software basis for cameras, televisions and household appliances. Today you can turn on the TV or air conditioner with one tap on the screen of an Android smartphone, and in the not-too-distant future, cars controlled using this system await... But once upon a time, this operating system was only the brainchild of forward-thinking enthusiasts who understood that mobile systems were the future . And not far away. Android OS version history - 1It all started earlier than most millennials think. Android is not some kind of accident that just happened - and happened - to your smartphones. This is the implementation of the thoughts of those same enthusiasts from the first paragraph. At the beginning of the 2000s, when the whole world was pressing buttons on their phones, Android developers were tirelessly experimenting with the very first version of their operating system.

Robots or sweets?

When Google acquired Android Inc., they planned to name the versions of the operating system being developed after popular robots (we think JavaRush students will remember a couple of them offhand, not counting Diego and Amigo), but due to copyright problems they decided to abandon this idea. and they began to name the versions after the names of the sweets. Great move: who wouldn’t want fluffy marshmallows, sweet caramel or gingerbread? The history of Android began back in 2003, when Andy Rubin, head of Android inc. and his company began to think about introducing GPS modules into phones.
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When Google acquired Andy's company, the era of touchscreen smartphones had not yet arrived. So Google planned to integrate the maps it was then working on into Rubin's project. Moreover, they focused on Nokia and Blackberry push-button phones, since they did not yet have regular smartphone manufacturing partners. Before the official release, the version was called “Astronaut” (Astroboy), a kind of pioneer in the world of touchscreen smartphones. But in 2007, a significant event occurred that changed the entire smartphone industry: the release of the first Apple iPhone. Rubin understands that in order to create something like this, you need to completely change your strategy. And, as Steve Jobs assured then, the further strategy of Android devices was brazenly copied from Apple by late competitors. Perhaps this is true. But this only makes us better: healthy competition improves products.

Versions that (almost) no one has heard of

Android 1.0 Apple Pie or “Apple Pie”

The first company that decided to adopt the new software was HTC. And they were right: devices called HTC Dream based on Android sold about a million in less than six months. This was due not only to the lower price than the iPhone, but also to the interest of “geeks” in the new product.
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The first version of Android was released in September 2008. It turned out to be quite simple to understand; an unskilled user could easily figure out what was what. However, the smartphone was awkward and bulky, the software interface was poor, and the features were clearly lacking. Although the Android Market application store appeared in this version.

Android 1.1 Banana Bread or “Banana Bread”

Update 1.1 Banana Bread was released four months later, in February 2009. This version turned out to be more mature, like the same bananas that are needed to bake the bread of the same name.
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This update fixed the main problems with the alarm clock, sleep mode and account, added reviews and comments to the maps, and changed the interface. Only now is it possible to save attachments from MMS, as well as set the time and date in different formats. An important feature for people with vision problems also appeared: the smartphone could read out all the information on the screen.

Android 1.5 Cupcake or “Cupcake”

Banana Bread version is not widely used. In April 2009, the developers relaunched the first version, thereby giving life to Android 1.5 Cupcake.
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“Cupcake” turned out to be very advanced, having received serious innovations:
  • support for touch keyboard (finally the developers got rid of these annoying numerous buttons) and third-party keyboards (you could choose the interface yourself);
  • added Bluetooth support (allows stereo headsets without wires);
  • the exact date and time were displayed in the call history (there was no need to double-check when to call mom);
  • it became possible to record and play audio and video files (and later upload them to Youtube);
  • placement of widgets and folders on the desktop (now everyone could monitor weather changes and exchange rates without letting go of the phone).
Well, the highlight of “Cupcake” was the visual changes in the browser, the ability to publish photos on external resources like Picasa (do you remember at least the logo of this program?) and watching videos on Youtube.

Android 1.6 Donut or “Donut”

Version Android 1.6 or “Donut” looks much more attractive than “Cupcake”. The update supports several new display resolutions: QVGA (240x320 pixels) and WVGA (854x480 pixels). Not impressive? Perhaps. But we're talking about 2009, so don't judge too harshly. The updated API supports CDMA, text-to-speech engine and OpenCore 2 multimedia engine with support for new codecs. In addition, Donut will allow you to search bookmarks, browser history, contacts, song titles and the web directly from the home screen through the search form.
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The new version of Android Market has become more convenient. Now on the home screen, users could choose between “just” programs, games, and a download manager. Categories have appeared: “Top paid”, “Top free” and “New”. Screenshots of installed programs also appeared in Donut, and the camera began to shoot faster.

Android 2.0 / 2.1 "Eclair" or "Eclair"

On October 27, 2009, the world saw version Android 2.0, and in January of the following year it was updated to 2.1, codenamed Eclair. In “Eclair” the camera has undergone significant changes:
  • digital zoom and flash with night shooting capabilities;
  • white balance and color effects (it was now possible to process photographs in a noir style);
  • scene modes and macro photography.
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You can also highlight:
  • full navigation in Google Maps with 3D display (you could travel to different countries without leaving your home);
  • unlock your phone with one gesture;
  • text-to-speech translation;
  • setting your favorite tracks for a call;
  • HTML5 support in the browser.
It was on the basis of “Eclair” that Google’s line of “own” smartphones, the Nexus One, worked, which went on sale in January 2010 at a price of $529 (we are talking about the US market). In fact, the first “Google phones”, the processor clock speed of which reached 1 GHz, were produced by the same company HTC. But not only the Google Phone worked on Android: the second version of the operating system was installed on such models as NTS Magic and Hero, Motorola Droid and Samsung Galaxy.

First popularity

Android 2.2 Froyo or “Frozen Yogurt”

On June 28, 2010, the Nexus One received an update to Android 2.2. Despite the name of this update, the capabilities of Android were not frozen, but only expanded. The performance of the same Nexus One has increased several times due to the ability to move third-party applications to an external microSD memory card. An important point is also that it was with “yogurt” that support for Adobe Flash 10.2 began, which the iPhone did not have. This was a huge advantage and gave Android ten points ahead.
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Many smartphones from HTC, Samsung, Sony and LG worked on this, as well as the next version. It is with this version that Android begins to penetrate the pockets of the mass buyer.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread or “Gingerbread”

This version of Android launched on December 6, 2010, and turned out to be very tenacious: according to statistics, devices with “Gingerbread” on board were popular until 2013. The success of the version is quite natural, since it was in Gingerbread that important and promising functions were implemented: SIP telephony, Near Field Communication and Google Talk. “Gingerbread” supported working with higher resolution screens, dictionaries, a new download manager and much more. In addition, Gingerbread, even in its “naked form” (without manufacturers’ add-ons), looked good visually. Devices running this OS received improved icon design and smooth animation, as well as an updated Android Market interface.
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It was “Gingerbread” that was the first to support multiple cameras. Yes, yes, you correctly thought about the beginning of the “selfie” era, although the first such cameras appeared five years earlier, for example, in the Nokia n70 phone. Finally, users were able to manage battery consumption and power, as well as highlight text character by character. Together with Gingerbread, Google is releasing the next branded smartphone - the Google Nexus S. Its “real parent” was not HTC, but Samsung, which was quite obvious: enthusiasts of that time saw the family resemblance of the Google Nexus S to one of Samsung’s first smartphone hits - the Galaxy S .

Android 3.0 Honeycomb or “Honeycomb”

You've probably already forgotten, but there was a time when all the trees and iPads were big, and there were no Android tablets at all. It was September 2010, Steve Jobs was still alive, and the iPad Mini was two years away. It was then that the Samsung Galaxy Tab appeared, one of the first tablets with a seven-inch screen and one of the first Android tablets. The OS version that the device was given is Android 2.2. Frankly speaking, the “phone android” didn’t look the best on the tablet. However, the developers decided that Android on tablets was a good idea, and began to write a special version of the operating system for devices with larger screens. The presentation of “tablet” Android 3.0 took place on February 22, 2011. Perhaps the “troika” can be called one of the first large-scale transformations of Android. Honeycomb received an updated interface, support for multi-core processors, hardware acceleration support and improved multitasking. A convenient menu was created with support for listing applications, several desktops with a set of separate widgets and shortcuts for each. All the tabs were arranged as closely as in a honeycomb.
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Along with the new OS, so-called “phablets” also appeared, which also ran on Android. They were a cross between a tablet and a smartphone. The specialized press subtly made fun of them for a year or two, until... Until almost all smartphones imperceptibly turned into these same “phablets.” Troika was updated several times, adding minor improvements. But as smartphones and tablets moved closer together, developers decided that the next version of Android would be the same for all of these devices.

An association

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or “Ice Cream Sandwich”

The fourth Android was introduced on October 19, 2011 along with the Galaxy Nexus smartphone. If you know what an “ice cream sandwich” is, you will understand why the cross-platform version for smartphones and tablets was named that way.
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Perhaps this is the second serious breakthrough in the Android world, and it was the “four” that became the Android that, in terms of convenience, came close to its notorious arch-competitor. Ice Cream Sandwich now has access to applications directly from the lock screen and gesture unlocking. Functions for recognizing the user's face and full encryption of the phone have appeared. And the camera gained the ability to shoot panoramic images and edit video in real time. We also completely changed the user interface taking into account all wishes. Although... What can we say about this, the Android interface changed constantly, from one version to another, right up to its current state. Following the “four”, another “Google phone” appeared - Galaxy Nexus, another brainchild of Samsung. It was this company that developed the most popular smartphones at that time after you-know-who.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or “Jelly Candy”

Along with the Asus Nexus 10 tablet, a “jelly candy” was introduced in October 2012 with a smoother interface and soft transitions between application shortcuts. One of the biggest changes in the new version was the renaming of Android Market to Google Play. Now it looks quite ordinary. But then it made a good impression, because now users could download and use not only applications, but music, games and even books. At that time, Android and iOS looked like the absolute market leaders. The Google Now service allowed you to listen to music, write messages and at the same time use navigation to view the route and calculate the amount of time so as not to be late for the meeting. The service frighteningly began to predict the behavior and habits of users, providing them with useful information using search history, calendar and route. In addition, several profiles and accounts with different sets of programs and settings were supported on one device.
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It’s no longer surprising to you that when you search for a movie, Google immediately displays a list of nearby cinemas and showtimes. If you're looking for a restaurant, Google immediately searches reviews and offers a list of different cuisines to choose from. But in 2012 it looked fantastic, but at the same time a little alarming.

Android 4.4 KitKat

Having fully enjoyed the taste of the jelly candy, the developers decide to make another change. Android worked great on devices with a large amount of memory, but still froze on smartphones with a small amount of RAM, so the developers, together with the Nexus 5, updated it to version 4.4 in 2013. What innovations awaited us here?
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  • completely updated interface and brightness adjustment;
  • the ability to turn on subtitles when watching a movie (even movies in Korean have become clearer);
  • support for pedometers and the myth of the ideal 10,000 steps a day;
  • Google detection of unknown numbers;
  • support for applications with an infrared port (hence the ability to control household appliances from a distance).

Digression: Android Wear

Beginning of 2014. Healthy lifestyle and its faithful companions - wearable devices - are conquering the world. Google is showing off Android Wear, a special version of its operating system for wearable devices, and several manufacturers are immediately developing corresponding devices. This is how the Moto 360, LG Watch R and Sony SmartWatch 3 are born.
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Android 5.0 Lollipop "Lollipop"

But Android Wear is far from Android of the Year. Android of the Year 5.0 is named Lollipop, released in October 2014. The developers continued to “play with the interface”, which is why Material Design appeared. This marketing term can be deciphered as “the functionality has become clearer and simpler, and the colors have become richer.” Android is colorful like a bright lollipop.
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In addition to external changes, this version of Android has changed significantly from the inside. They consist of switching to the Android Runtime virtual machine (ART), which officially replaced the outdated version of Dalvik. This contributed to increased system performance and energy efficiency. Another addition is smart locking. Let's assume you encrypted your smartphone as best you could: with passwords, pattern keys and pin codes, and facial recognition. Constantly entering a password is inconvenient, the facial recognition function does not work as quickly as we would like, and there are not so many options for pattern keys. With the smart lock function, all this can be avoided. All you need to do is set it up and when you are in a safe place, your smartphone can unlock itself. You can also highlight:
  • support for working with two SIM cards;
  • the flashlight appears in the quick settings menu;
  • built-in VPN service to make connections to open WI-FI networks safer, but only for Nexus smartphones;
  • Android TV - since the advent of this version it was possible to do without a remote control and a TV at all;
  • the ability to manually adjust brightness and improve color correction.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow or “Marshmallow”

The sixth version of Android, presented at the Google I/O conference on May 28, 2015. It marked the beginning of the third era of Android, which was dubbed the “golden era” for photos and videos. Now you could intensively photograph animals and children, take portrait, landscape and panoramic photographs, turn on night mode, macro photography and the application of various effects, and photograph objects in motion. And many cloud rappers began to use Samsung on Android to produce videos. The quality was no worse than when filming with a professional camera.
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You can also notice other differences that we received:
  • the emergence of Google Now On Tap, which can easily compete with Siri;
  • the ability to unlock the smartphone with a fingerprint;
  • Project Brillo – OS for implementing the Internet of Things;
  • the ability to deny an application's access to a specific resource.

Android 7.0 Nougat or “Nougat”

The release of the latest (as of today) seventh Android took place in August 2016, and everyone has already appreciated the innovations that were offered to us:
  • the ability to switch between two applications with one click (now you can scroll through your Twitter feed and watch videos on Youtube at the same time);
  • instant switching of languages ​​(you can chat with friends from different countries even faster);
  • shortcut icons can be displayed on a separate panel;
  • new folder design;
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  • night mode, which allows you to make the brightness pleasant and comfortable for the eyes, and also save battery power;
  • new virtual reality mode with Daydream support;
  • sleep mode when moving, which allows you to save battery power while you are not using your smartphone;
  • a traffic saving feature that allows you to disable applications running in the background;
  • encryption of individual files, folders and applications.

What's next?

Today Android is a powerful operating system. It dominates among all operating systems and can only compete with another giant - iOS. Android and iOS practically “killed” Nokia and Blackberry, once the leaders of the mass and business markets of mobile phones, which 10 years ago were predicted to have many years of life and prosperity.
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Some smartphones have already started updating to the Android “Oreo” version. But there is a separate article about it, which will appear in this group in the near future.